Saturday, April 30, 2011

Review of ABDC's Katy Perry Challenge by JustAnABDCFan

Here’s what I look for in crews (everything is based on a 1 to 10 scale):
Stage Presence- The biggest part to me for a dancer, and for a crew, is your stage presence.  I really firmly believe that.  Do you command the stage?  A chief focus as a dancer is to project yourself—your emotion and subsequently the song’s emotion onto the viewer/audience.  Are you doing that?  And just as important, are you “lighting the stage on fire” so to speak?  Are you really captivating me as a viewer into buying what you’re presenting?
Technique- Secondary to me is how technical a dancer/crew is.  Is what you’re doing difficult, or is it just super simple?  If it IS simple, are you making it as CLEAN as possible, while still incorporating stage presence?  Can I tell you’ve been doing this a while, or is your technique just kind of “there”, and not speaking out in terms of engaging an audience?  Is your choreography technical, or “one, two, three, four” predictable?
G-Factor- A corny phrase I’m making for my writing, which is also probably better known as the “IT factor”.  It stands for “Greatness Factor”, and  I consider this part of a performance different than stage presence.  This is that quality in a dancer/crew where you just can’t put your finger on it, but something about them is just DIFFERENT.  Something about them is just captivating you, and it might be a subtlety such as a smile or the way they carry themselves, or something as dynamic as the way they do a signature move.  In essence, what makes them individually different and sets them apart from the pack.
The Obstacle- Also known as, “the Challenge”, this category speaks for if they were able to meet the challenge of that week.  Was the challenge met?  Furthermore, was the challenge met at an average level, or was it fantastic or amazing?  Was it creative?  And was it difficult to do?
Every week I’ll be putting a humorous spin on my evaluations by choosing a random subject to help entertain you, and acclimate (or not) my thoughts on each individual crew.  For example, one week might be “Mortal Kombat Week” for me, because I felt like it, so I would assign every crew a Mortal Kombat character to help depict what I thought of their performance.  For example, Phunk Phenomenon might be Scorpion one week, because they’re just SO HOT in that performance that they will CEASE to die out.  Or something like that.
So, onto the review!
The Superstar for this Week:  Katy Perry
Subject of the Week for Review: THE NFL DRAFT
Katy Perry? Oh man, getting real serious right now.  OK, I’ll admit, I like some of her songs.  For future reference, I review the crews in the order they perform.  Rankings are at the end of the review.
So if anyone cares about sports, and I do (not as much as dance though), today was the day of the NFL draft.  So I thought it fit to compare crews to players getting drafted.  If you dislike it, don’t worry, next week will probably be funnier.


Phunk Phenomenon - Challenge: Create a roulette wheel
Song: Waking Up in Vegas

Ah, Phunk Phenomenon, I’d consider you to be just like Mark Ingram from Alabama of this year’s draft for this week.  Everyone sleeps on you, and you perform so well that you would think people would just wake up already and acknowledge that you are pretty beast at what you do.
Stage Presence: 8 You know what?  Phunk Phenomenon to me always seems to use the stage well.  They are everywhere when they dance, and I really appreciate that.  Not to mention today was particularly a good day for selling a story—that being Las Vegas and getting hitched. They to me were doing a great job of being exuberant and very goofy.  Being in Las Vegas tends to be a lot of fun, if not a bit surprising, and I think their stage presence captivated that very well.
Technique: 8 To say that Phunk Phenomenon doesn’t have super solid technique would be just stupid.  The opening started out with a big musicality bang—fast isolations to the beat, that were clean and on point.  We move to a cool line transition, with a ripple effect on both sides, and that was great.   There was some locking, hard hitting choreography, some jazz or something thrown in, and not to mention Bboy Bebo doing his thing.  The choreography was definitely fun, challenging and clean!  I definitely see a lot of different styles in here, and that’s what makes their technique so good—they excel at ALL of it.
G-Factor: 8 I can’t begin to describe to you how I feel about today’s performance.  It wasn’t mind blowing, but there was that certain something that made me say:  “yes, I’ll buy into this”.  Bebo’s smile oozed of G-Factor, and their overall crew charisma is charming enough for me to point my finger and say that, at least for this week, they had IT.
The Challenge: 9 I really liked the roulette wheel they made.  When they showed their package I knew for a fact that Bebo was going be the center of the challenge because quite frankly he always is (and is really dynamic enough to do them).  I was just curious to see how they implemented him, and the headspin as the center of the wheel while they rolled was just awesome.  And it looked clean, too!
Total: 33/40
    “Yo, I appreciate you.  Improve on some of yo dynamics yo, and you’ll get a championship like me.”
IaMmE - Challenge: Fan out on stage like a peacock
Song: Peacock
I would compare IaMmE to Jake Locker from Washington this week.  You have a HUGE fan base, and EVERYONE seems to love you, but you just haven’t quite gotten over that hump yet.  But you’re super freaking good, that’s for sure.
Stage Presence: 8 Better than last week, and the week before that…and every week previously, for sure.  It was comforting to see them really emit an emotion of a…peacock.  Like, I don’t know if you guys know but peacocks walk with a sense of swag, and elegance.  And I felt IaMmE really did that tonight.  Yet at the same time, the song itself is fun and bouncy, and they somehow managed to get that too…while still showing their peacocks.  Awkward.
Technique: 9 It is always really hard for me to critique their technique, because all of them are just so darn good at what they do.  Seriously.  The opening peacock had me in stiches (only because I think this challenge is so strange), and Phillip “Pacman” Chbeeb’s waving and artistry is insane.  Their choreography overall today was so much better mostly in part to the fact that they had more than just “do some ok choreography and then bunch in the center to brain bang”.  I really liked some of the line transitions they did, and the popping section/line was great.  This was to me the best choreography we’ve seen from them so far.
G-Factor: 8 I think right now they are on the same level as Phunk Phenomenon.  There is definitely something there this week, where you think that they are something different, and certainly their brain banging lends itself to this section of review.  But today they didn’t brain bang HARD, but their charisma still shined throughout.  Smiling, and captivating the audience was definitely in effect, not to mention it was that “cute” kind of “it”.
The Challenge: 9 They made four peacocks if my count was correct, and yes I count the second brain bang type thing a peacock.  So they jumped over the challenge hurdle easily, and every peacock to me stood out really well.  Another thing to note was that every peacock was animated of some sort, so that was really nice aesthetically.
Total: 34/40

 “Ha, let me see your peacock…that’s funny.  You’re good, but there IS something missing.”
787 Crew - Challenge:Make a roller coaster
Song: Hot N’ Cold
I claim you 787, Ryan Mallet from Arkansas (who has yet to be drafted, but believe me, he will second or third round) this week.  You’re a lot of show, and you have the “intangibles”, and you make some good explosive plays, but overall you’re just not that amazing—maybe someday though.
Stage Presence: 7 I can’t feel 787 Crew’s stage presence.  I see what they’re trying to do, I really do.  I get glimpses of awesome emotion, like the start of the performance tonight, but then it just kind of stops for me.  I guess they fit the song though, because they were hot at points in emotion, but then cold in others for me.
Technique: 7 OK, I get it, you can do a lot of flips and tricks.  That’s neat.  But I would really like to see some more solid choreography from this crew.  Tonight wasn’t too bad—it was above average, if not for the sheer amount of flips in the routine.  The little bboy section was a welcome addition to the piece and helped the pacing, and the off the back side flips were neat, but then when you get to their base choreography it is just “above average”.  And I didn’t really see the rollercoaster that well…I mean, I saw it, but it didn’t stand out at all to me.  Props for using Perry though in the routine.
G-Factor: 6 I said a week one that I almost saw a teeny tiny glimpse of Quest Crew in there somewhere.  I kind of take that back for this week.  The standout thing that makes me captivated just isn’t there, and I would probably attribute that to the sheer amount of tricks they do.  They don’t give me a chance to see if they have something special there, because they water down their routines with flip, flip, flip.  Sure, they have charisma, but it doesn’t separate them from say, Phunk Phenomenon.
The Challenge: 6  They made a rollercoaster.  And it seemed really simplistic, because I just saw everyone connect via the shoulders and move left and right.  Then they finished with a kind of roller coaster finish with Perry, but at that point it was just suicide front flips at staggered starts.
Total: 26/40

“Yeah that was cool.  But stop watering down your sets with flips.  It’s getting overplayed, like me.”

ICONic Boyz - Challenge: Make a wall and break it down
Song: Teenage Dream
For this week I compare ICONic Boyz to Cam Newton of Auburn, the number one overall draft pick for this season.  They’re a pretty face—girls like them a lot, but really they don’t have that much experience in the field (Cam only had a failed year at Florida, 1 year in Junior College and 1 year at Auburn, although he won the Heisman and National Championship).  Sure, you’ve gotten a lot of success, but compared to the next level, you’re not there.
Stage Presence: 9 Alright, I’ll admit it, this song fit them perfectly—they’re a bunch of adorable kids, and the song is a bubbly song about teenagers and dreaming.  So that fit right down their alley, and they used it to their advantage.  I do smile when they perform, and they just ooze the emotion of “happy teenager” this week.
Technique: 4 OK now I get harsh.  Really, this choreography wasn’t difficult at all.  This is entry level beginning hip-hop choreography to me.  It’s fun, sure, but it is certainly not incredibly challenging.  Yes, I gave them a four, but look at what they did.  A wall of kids on top of each other’s shoulders, then they drop.  Chest pops, transition, look at hand, jump around.  Do shotty isolations, glide a little, move arms.  Too basic for my tastes, and that shouldn’t cut for much longer.
G-Factor: 7 At this point it is renamed “cuteness factor”, because that is what they have.  Their intangible is likability for their age, and it is hard not to say “aww” when they perform.  They stand out, because they are adorable, and when they smile, it’s pretty infectious.
The Challenge: 4 Like I said earlier, they made a wall and jumped.  It wasn’t explosive, or difficult, and any cheerleader could do that with her friends in two seconds.
Total: 24/40
"Ha ha, smiling and bein’ cute, that’s where it’s at.  But you’re not  meeting the bar yet, boys.”
Instant Noodles - Challenge: make a chain reaction
Song: Firework
This week Instant Noodles you are Blaine Gabbert of Missouri.  Man are you a technical specimen, and you’ve got plenty of style in the way you play.  Unfortunately, you miss out on some close ones.  But you’re still really good.
Stage Presence: 7
Instant Noodles this week did a really good job of emitting a positive emotion.  And really, that’s basically what the song is about.  That, and they did a great job of presenting their style of bboying to the audience.  I saw a change up too, when they presented the ballet, and that really sold me in to the performance, if only because it was vastly different than what they normally do.  And it was funny.
Technique: 7
I think their bboying technique in terms of style individually is great.  But in terms of choreography, I still yearn for a lot more.  They need to be just a bit more dynamic, which is harder for people to see in style bboying.  Don’t get me wrong though, what they did tonight was definitely difficult and clean and precise, but not explosive enough for me.  Furthermore, it was pretty obvious that none of them are really extensively trained in ballet (which was fine with me, because it served its purpose).  I do appreciate their level changes however, and it brings something that the other crews don’t.
G-Factor: 7
Yes, they have “it”.  But is it as strong or as defined or pronounced as some of the other crews?  This week I think not.  Their G-Factor has certainly grown, however.  They are unique, for sure, but even if I compared their G-Factor to Poreotics, I would still say it is not the same in level.
The Challenge: 7
I’m being totally honest here.  I think they met the challenge well.  But it was not as explosive as it could have been, and seeing as they promised more power, they did not deliver to the expectation I had set.  Being bboys, I expected something more in my face for this challenge, and I thought the challenge was suited for them.  Yeah, they made a chain reaction, but fireworks are as they said “epic”, and to me, this wasn’t “epic”, it was just really good.
Total: 28/40
“Stylish, check.  Cool, check.  But you need to bring more “wow” to your stuff, guys.”


Street Kingdom - Challenge: Make a spaceship
Song: E.T
This week Street Kingdom is Marcell Dareus, a defensive tackle from Alabama and third overall pick for this year’s draft.  What a big, rough tough dude, who just wants to run people over and impose his will on everyone.  He’s a great guy though, but man, does he emit power—especially when he hits.
Stage Presence: 9 How could I not say that I don’t feel the emotion from this performance?  I can’t—every performance, save the Black Eyed Peas challenge, I always feel them pushing their will, even through the television.  I’m glad they got back to krump—because that is really what it’s all about for them.  They lit the stage on fire with their tenacity, and it was pretty clear when they spread out and krumped that they were not handing over the stage easily.  I find this is usually the best category for Street Kingdom.
Technique: 9  I krump (I know I do a lot of dance, but I want to be well rounded), and boy I can’t argue with tonight’s performance in terms of krump technique.  Hard hitting, explosive, and more importantly, clean, and crisp.  They’re choreography was even more like “krump choreography”, and that was a welcome addition this week to what happened last week.  I saw one part where a member jumped on the back of another member, back to back, but gave the illusion that he was dying or being beamed up.  That was tight.  The snake illusion they made in the front when one member was under the other’s legs was awesome. Just great technique this week, because they got back to what they do best:  and that’s getting bucc.
G-Factor: 8 It’s hard for me to say that they have all of whatever “it” is that separates themselves from everyone else.  I know, they do a completely different dance style then all the other crews, and yes, I can feel them very well.  There G-Factor this week was certainly better than last week, as was just about everything, but I still felt like they need their signature something to really go over the top.
The Challenge: 7 Their spaceship was OK.  I mean, it was above average by two notches, and that’s all great and good.  But they could have done better, I think.  It was neat, and Tight Eyez coming from the middle with his yellow shirt—I understood the concept of an alien type thing, but I really didn’t think it was overly amazing.  And they broke off a little sloppy to me when they went off stage, which partly ruined the effect for me.  Certainly not bad though, and again, better than last week.
Total: 33/40

“AHHH LET’S GET IT! You could be a little more creative, but don’t stray away from your POWER!”

ReQuest - Challenge: Make a wave
Song: California Gurls
This week you are Julio Jones from Alabama, a wide receiver, surprise draft pick at number six overall to the Atlanta Falcons.  You are graceful at what you do, and what makes you so explosive is just how much easy you make your stuff look—when it really is difficult, and technical.  Not to mention fun to watch when you catch that game changing touchdown.
Stage Presence: 8 When they started on the stage in their pose, I instantly got the vibe of what they were going to do with this song.  Yes, I already know the song, and have heard it a million times and it probably is overplayed, or was, but they made it feel refreshing.  My goodness do they know how to work a stage, and present themselves in a very clean, yet powerful way.  I know they can get more bucc than this, but for this week, they did just fine.
Technique: 8 Their technique is ALWAYS so clean, and always on form.  Man, I love their transitions and formations, and just the way they do things in terms of the technical side.  I saw some locking or vogueing in there, and their signature swag moves that they carry in every performance.  The booty popping made me laugh, and smile because quite frankly they are an all-girl group, and if they have…assets, use them.  The first wave was awesome, and clean, although they might have been able to do more with it.  Locking was tight, and then the little sliding/swimming part on the ground was fantastic, not to mention I saw a really great leg extension from the girl standing.  Their last “wave” of sorts I thought was so simple, but it was the end of the piece, and was more of a “yeah we’re good” move, to show their confidence than anything else.
G-Factor: 8 Solid.  They do have greatness and a thing that you can’t point out, but makes their performance just more enjoyable this week.  I will say that I didn’t get super amazingly captivated though, but I was drawn in by their stuff.
The Challenge: 8 All in all, a solid way to get your wave challenge completed.  Not overly complicated, but definitely clean and functional!  The second wave, again, was just them bending backwards in wave, but like I said, I saw that more as a closing move to show confidence than an actual technical showpiece.
Total: 32/40

“Look at how beautiful a jump this is, just like your dance style.  A little more “umph” and you got it.”
Eliminated: ReQuest
I know I know, there is a lot of fan raging and anger over this decision.  This was such a horrible bottom two, because both these crews are fantastic, and sending one home, to me, is a disservice to the show and the dance community.  Unfortunately, New Zealand isn’t very big, so I can assume that their main vote base wasn’t enough to carry them (although I’m sure there are plenty of Americans who love ReQuest).  My bottom two based on last week would have been ReQuest and ICONic Boyz, with ICONic Boyz going home.  So unfortunate, but believe me when I say that ReQuest is not finished with their dance careers and will have big things ahead for them.

Rankings for the Katy Perry Challenge:
1. IaMmE (34/40)
2. Street Kingdom (33/40)
3. Phunk Phenomenon (33/40)
4. Request (32/40)
5. Instant Noodles (28/40)
6. 787 Crew (26/40)
7. ICONic Boyz (24/40)
Thanks for reading! :)

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